Sunday, December 20, 2015

"It turns out that the Woodstock Generation didn’t make it back to the garden. No, they ended up running the show at Abu Ghraib."

Baby Boomers Are America’s Sith Lords - The Daily Beast: "That’s because Star Wars is really about the path from the smug sense of moral superiority baby boomers oozed in the mid-1970s to the undeniable self-realization that they themselves were people who sanctioned indiscriminate bombings, torture, invasion, and destruction in the name of nation building, liberating oppressed peoples, and waging the Global War on Terrorism. 

...the Star Wars movies unflinchingly document the journey from youthful arrogance and moral certitude to middle-aged humility and self-recrimination. It turns out that the Woodstock Generation didn’t make it back to the garden. No, they ended up running the show at Abu Ghraib.

Luke Skywalker and the young rebels are good and the Empire, lead by Luke’s father Darth Vader, are evil. Young/good triumphs over old/evil. Period, end of story. That’s pretty much a history of the 1960s too, at least as told by what was once known as the younger generation. What eventually became known as the Greatest Generation was routinely castigated by its offspring as reactionary, bigoted, hate-mongers who fought against racial equality at home and the freedom of long-suffering peasants in Vietnam and elsewhere abroad. 

Which is what makes the second set of Star Wars movies, released between 1999 and 2005, so incredibly fascinating. While taking place 30 years before the original movies, the second trilogy offers an unmistakably poisonous commentary on contemporary American events, including numerous promiscuous military interventions by Bill Clinton (the first boomer president), the repressive response to the 9/11 attacks, and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The last of the second trilogy in particular, Revenge of the Sith, details how a republic transmogrifies into an empire (“with thunderous applause”), one that is capable of destroying whole planets in the name of security and order. “You were the Chosen One!,” cries out Obi-Wan Kenobi to his protege Anakin Skywalker as he becomes the evil Darth Vader, “It was said you would destroy the Sith, not join them! Bring balance to the force, not leave it in darkness!”"

The first six Star Wars movies document in imaginative form how antiwar activists became the cryptkeepers of Abu Ghraib, how hippies who called bullshit on LBJ and Richard Nixon staffed a Bush administration that sanctioned waterboarding and an Obama administration that generated a “kill list” not subject to any sort of due process."

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